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IL&FS board likely to meet again this week

Monday, October 08, 2018

The newly constituted board of the beleaguered IL&FS under the chairmanship of Uday Kotak may meet this week again to chalk out the future course of action to resolve the current financial crisis, according to a source.

Following a marathon first board meeting held last Thursday, it is learnt that the members will meet this week again to propose how the crisis can be resolved at the debt ridden Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services (IL&FS) group.

To take stock of the current situation, the new board members held their first meeting last week, which was followed by a management as well as a lawyers' presentation.

"What the IL&FS group proposes to do is still to be decided and hopefully the board will meet this week again (to decide the future course of action)," the source said. It will consume time to explore the exact reasons behind the present mess that has led to a series of loan defaults by various IL&FS group companies, he added. IL&FS group is credited with building India's longest 9.2 kilometres Chenani-Nashri tunnel in Jammu & Kashmir which was thrown open for public in April 2017.

The infra lending and engineering conglomerate major currently sits on a debt burden of nearly Rs 91,000 crore and has been downgraded to junk status by rating agencies following the default.

Of this, Rs 57,000 crore are bank loans alone, most of which are from state-owned lenders.

A spate of debt defaults started emanating from its various group companies from September, followed by resignations of its Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer Ramesh C Bawa as well as several independent board members.

On October 1, government superseded the board of IL&FS and appointed a six-member board with Kotak as the non-executive chairman.

After the maiden board meeting held on October 4, Kotak briefed the media suggesting the IL&FS crisis appears more complex than it looks like as there were as many as 348 subsidiaries of the group, much larger than what was told earlier.

"We undertook an initial assessment of the ground reality and the way forward. We'll meet frequently to implement the directions of NCLT and to prepare a roadmap and turnaround," Kotak, who heads private sector lender Kotak Mahindra Bank, had said.

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